Feeding Your Show Dog

All dogs, like people, are different. Some will be very picky eaters, and keep themselves skinny as a rail. Others love to eat, and cannot be trusted around any food-like substances. With that in mind, we (Absolut Dogs) feed a highly “personalized” diet. We start all dogs’ meals with a well-balanced kibble, tailored to that specific dog’s protein and carbohydrate needs.

RAW FOODS:

First, a note of caution: raw diets must be very well planned and implemented to be a total-diet solution. For working dogs that don’t keep enough weight on them, we often supplement or switch them to a raw-food diet. This includes lots of raw, unfrozen turkey necks, chicken backs, fresh vegetables and offal. Many dogs do extremely well on this type of diet, and it is very useful in getting muscle mass built up, as well as a beautiful coat and clean teeth. All of our dogs get raw bones periodically to help keep their teeth clean- by crunching on bones, the bone actually scrapes plaque off the teeth, and helps to massage the gums.

PUPPY FOODS:

We NEVER give normal puppy food to our pups. We feed a “large-breed” puppy formula to our young’uns, but not past the age of 6 months. Because large dogs’ bones grow so quickly in the first year or two of life, giving them too much of a good thing can be extremely detrimental to their health. Puppy food is very high in calories and calcium. Unfortunately, too many calories and excess calcium cause the bones to grow too quickly, leading to hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD) and osteochondrosis dissecans  (OCD). For this reason, we steer clear of traditional puppy foods for puppies. However, for older dogs that have trouble keeping weight on, puppy food can be a big help in getting them to a proper weight.

dog food supplements natural rawSCRAPS / “PEOPLE FOOD”:

We see nothing wrong with supplementing your dog’s diet with fresh, natural people food. (GASP!) Though many people will tell you to never give your dog people food, we think this is a silly notion for a number of reasons.

  1. Not feeding scraps is a LAZY way to keep your dog from begging at the table.
  2. Dogs love variety, and get bored.
  3. Foods that are healthy for us are usually healthy for them as well. (See lists of dangerous human foods here)
  4. Dogs can be very happy and effective garbage disposals

SUPPLEMENTS:

We give supplements as recommended by our veterinarians, and have had great luck with Solid Gold Products for coat and joint health. We feel that too many people over-supplement their dog’s already balanced meals, and this can actually be a problem for some animals- so, as usual, consult your vet!

 

I am not a pet nutrition expert, nor do I have any experience with feeding or raising small dogs. This is simply what we have found works for our show/performance dogs, and I thought I’d pass along our 40+ years combined experience. Are there any things I missed, or you think should be added?

About BredByBitch

Hello! My name is Dani, and I've been in the "dog world" since I was 8 years old. My mother raises and breeds Irish Wolfhounds, which was my introduction to the show ring. I showed in Junior Showmanship for many years before aging out and getting my first German Wirehaired Pointer. I live in Tucson, AZ with my German Wirehaired Pointer, Luke. Luke is my man, from my first home-bred litter of wires.

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One Response to “Feeding Your Show Dog”

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